News / Africa

Agriculture Day Set to Dominate at Climate Conference

A view of the opening ceremony of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha November 26, 2012.A view of the opening ceremony of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha November 26, 2012.
x
A view of the opening ceremony of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha November 26, 2012.
A view of the opening ceremony of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Doha November 26, 2012.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to interview with Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda and Kim Lewis

Kim Lewis
As delegates meet at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, to craft a new international climate agreement after the 1997 Kyoto treaty expires next month, another group will be calling attention to the huge role agriculture could play in being part of the solution to climate change. 

Agriculture, Landscapes, and Livelihoods Day will take place at the conference on December 3.  The event hopes to put into place a dedicated work program to help farmers adapt to climate change, and to showcase solutions agriculture can provide in mitigating the effects of climate change. 

Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda, is CEO of the Africa-wide Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, FANRPAN, and is also spokesperson for global-agriculture coalition Farming First. She said agriculture is a crucial sector for many economies, especially the developing countries.  It supports the livelihoods for millions of people and also provides socio-economic empowerment, so it is vitally important that agriculture be a part of the talks in Doha.

“Well, I think the main thing to appreciate is that agriculture contributes to global emissions.  But,  at the same time, good agriculture is good for the environment, and it can actually reduce emissions and also counter any emissions that are already out there, explained Sibanda, who added, while improving agriculture techniques is a global issue, it is particularly important for Africa. 

“I think when you look at negotiations, you are looking at Africa as a continent with close to 54 countries that are members of the U.N., out of close to 200 member countries of the U.N.  We are saying, particularly for developing countries, particularly for Africa, where our heads of state have articulated that agriculture is the backbone of our economy.  We are calling on all of the African negotiators to prioritize agriculture, and push for a deal that recognizes a work program for agriculture," said Sibanda.     

She explained at present, African farmers are producing only about one-tenth of what they could be producing, due to difficult environmental conditions and a lack of technology. 

She said now is the time to focus on improving the use of natural resources and technology, “the technologies on the shelf need to be adapted to the local environment.  And that’s why local research at local levels is a critical role to play.  And then finally, we know there are technologies such as conservation agriculture, which can allow us to reduce emissions and use natural resources to enhance the fertility of our soil. And other technologies that farmers are willing to adopt, so that they can adapt to climate change.” 

Sibanda stressed these types of improvements require money that many developing countries do not have, and this too creates more challenges.

“The extension services need to be beefed-up so farmers can access knowledge.  The research needs to downscale technology to the farmer level.  So that too needs investment and finances… so farmers are willing to adapt in Africa, but they need help in accessing the technology.  And the technology needs to be appropriate for their conditions,” said Sibanda.

Sibanda described the Agriculture Day conference scheduled for December 3 as having more significant meaning for this year’s climate conference, “this year we are not just calling it, Agriculture and World Development, we’re calling it Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods because the people are important in this whole process.  The landscapes are important, and we are hoping to showcase some of the specific solutions for mitigating and adaptation, that can benefit farmers, particularly small-holder farmers.”

Sibanda emphasized putting agriculture in the spotlight is not just for the benefit of Africa.  She said food security is a global issue, and farmers worldwide are producing food under very difficult circumstances.  The climate conference is a good way to showcase gaps in knowledge regarding mitigating the effects of climate change, and offers a platform for educating, and implementing solutions to the effects of climate change.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs